Aurora to focus on youth mentoring after two deadly shootings
After the recent shooting deaths of two young people in Aurora, Mayor Richard Irvin says his administration will put a renewed focus on mentoring to help "change the narrative and the trajectory" of children's lives.
Irvin said this week that a citywide mentoring initiative will be launched in January. His office will gather information about all existing mentoring programs in Aurora before establishing the broader effort to fill in the gaps.
"The adage rings true that children will be what they see most," he said during a Tuesday media briefing. "However, the influence and power of the immediate environment can be offset and turned around by positive, accessible and regular examples."
The announcement comes after the shooting deaths of 15-year-old Jasmine Noble and 20-year-old Juanya Booker.
Noble was killed Nov. 24 on Aurora's near west side. Booker, of Montgomery, was killed and four others wounded in a shooting Sunday on Aurora's near east side.
Irvin extended condolences to Booker's and Noble's parents, family members and friends.
"Not only as mayor but also as a parent of a teenager and a young adult, I hurt over their loss," he said. "Two young lives cut short due to senseless violence."
Irvin didn't discuss the details of the ongoing investigations. But he said he has full confidence that police officials "are exhausting every measure" investigating the crimes.
While there is no connection between the homicides, nor were they random crimes, Irvin said the common thread is young lives were cut short.
"That is what hurts most," he said.
Irvin said some shootings could have be prevented through mentoring and providing young people with better tools for decision making. So, he's asking leaders of mentoring programs in Aurora to contact the mayor's office "to provide any information we need to grow our youth programs and our mentoring programs."
"Partnering with our schools, churches, businesses and public safety officials," Irvin said, "2020 will be a year that our educational initiatives will have a greater focus on mentoring and the irrefutable facts that positive and accessible adults in the lives of children can change the narrative and the trajectory of their lives."
Meanwhile, anyone with information about the shootings is asked to call investigators at (630) 256-5500. Anonymous tips can be left with Crime Stoppers at (630) 892-1000.
"If you know something, say something," Irvin said.